How To Play Your Own Media Files to Google Chromecast

Google Chromecast is designed to provide internet streaming content. It’s not necessarily meant to stream local files, but you can with the Chrome browser.

The latest rage for home entertainment systems is Google’s $30 Chromecast. The company hopes it will be the new living room entertainment device of the future. Unfortunately, one thing it’s not designed to do is stream local media. But with an extension and a little know-how, you can stream your local files to it.

Out of the box, the Chromecast allows you to send YouTube, Netflix, and music, TV, and movies from Google Play. Unfortunately, compared to the Roku, Apple TV, or Xbox 360, it currently doesn’t have much to offer. But here are some ways to get more content to your HDTV via the Chromecast.

After you set up Chromecast on your Android device, you’ll have the option to download apps that allow you to send content to Chromecast.

Stream to Chromecast

Stream Local Media from Your PC to Chromecast

Install the Google Cast extension in your Chrome browser. Then start playing the video or music file you want to stream in the browser.

Yes! You can play media file types directly in Chrome. There’s a couple of ways to do it, actually. Either drag and drop the file into the address bar. Or open a new tab in Chrome and hit Ctrl + O (or Command  + O on a Mac) and browse to the media file you want to play.

In my tests, I’ve been able to play MPEG, MPG, MP4, M4V, OGG, MP3, and AVI files. I tested several MKV files, and the video would stream but without sound. No love for FLAC files either.

Open in Chrome

If the media plays in the Chrome browser, click the Google Cast button and send it to your HDTV.

Browser to Chromecast

Here’s an example of streaming an MP3 file.


You can even stream compatible media files from Google Drive.

Google Drive

The quality of the stream will depend on the state of your WiFi router and the amount of traffic on the network. If you’re having streaming problems, change the options to a lower quality setting. Or, if things are streaming well, you can increase the quality – up to 720p only.


You’ll also want to make the video display in full-screen mode, so it shows larger on your HDTV. Otherwise, it displays at a smaller aspect ratio which isn’t that ideal for viewing.

Large Screen

Then hit Esc to exit full screen. In this example, I’m streaming a video from my home server, which is cool to stream from network locations.

Exit for Full Screen


A few more things to note about the Chromecast: while all the images of it give the impression you plug the stick into an HDMI port on your TV, you also have to connect it to a power source. It comes with a power cord that connects to it. This is kind of annoying, in my opinion, but it doesn’t necessarily make it a deal-breaker.

Chromcast contents

I was considering giving the device a mediocre review until I discovered this workaround for streaming local media. In fact, a lot of the media I tested for this article I streamed directly from my Windows Home Server. It’s also worth noting that there’s an app for your iPhone or iPad, and it seems to work as advertised.

Chromecast iOS App

Still, there is a lot of room for improvement with this new device. If you already have a Roku or Apple TV that you use as your set-top box, there’s not much of a reason to get the Chromecast unless you’re like me, a cord cutter, and want another toy to watch videos and listen to music.

Are you using a Chromecast? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think about it.



  1. Diablo

    This doesn’t work for me – when I drag it to the address bar/open the file it seems to download it rather than playing it. Would be good if it worked though…

    • Jun

      Did you try and right click the video file and play the video file on google chrome then cast it?

      • Paul

        Sorry Jun, I think I may have missed a step. Did you suggest that I right click and play to Chrome? Is that in the ‘open with’ options? I can’t see how I can do that.

        Thanks for your advice

  2. Brian Burgess

    @Diablo: that actually happened to me a couple of times, but only when I was trying to play files that aren’t compatible.

  3. dubluv

    streaming video from my pc to chromecast didin’t work for me either. when copied into the address bar of chrome, it simply started downloading it back to my pc

    • Eric

      It plays pdf.,mp3’s and mp4’s great but avi…no…mkv…no..divx…no is there an extension for Chrome I’m missing or what? This thing is cool and easy and when it works it’s great but man does not live on one format alone.

      • Eric

        Brian, I gottta say, you come up as a go to guy on the chromecast…and you and others have said avi and other files are playable yet, I can’t get these to work. I have asked if there is an extension or a add on or whatever you want to call it, I just want a path to follow. Like I said the unit works great…as directed…its these loophole directions that seem to be misdirecting me…

  4. Diablo

    I don’t get a visual when I play some mp4s, only audio.

    I reduced the bit rate to the lowest setting but does seem to make a difference. Is this as good as it gets? Netflix, YouTube and some mp4s? Little underwhelmed…

  5. robertdiligente

    i know a software called idealshare vdieogo which can easily helps me to convert all kinds video like mkv, avi, mp4, mov, flv and etc to chromecast supported format.

    then i can easily stream the converted local video from computer to chromecast for play on tv by the following way:

    Install Google Chrome Cast Extension
    Open chrome or a new tab, and then connect your chrome browser to Chromecast
    Drag and drop the video/audio file you want to play into the Chrome browser
    Click the browser extension and select “Cast this tab

  6. Rob Mamede

    I’ve been using the Chromecast for a few months, just took advantage of the built-in Hulu plus and Google play music trials and have used various apps on my Moto X to stream all of my viewing and music content (I haven’t used a TV tuner or cable box in well over a year). My Windows computer is unavailable, so I have my Moto X and 7″ Kindle Fire HD (2013). I was about to give in and buy the EZ Cast competing product since it has a faster GPU, more RAM, and support for many formats, costing around $40. I thought I’d make an effort to research possible workarounds or a hope to see news that the unsupported formats might be uploaded in an update. This is the first page I have visited in my endeavor, but it has already offered good enough suggestions to sway me from spending money on thhe better alternative product… for now. Since my Windows system is down, I may have more of a challenge with just a Kit Kat device and Kindle (aside from my Linux system). I didn’t offer any valuable information, but I’m a 25+ year HW/SW QA testing computer professional, and hopefully my decision to keep my money for now may help others decide what might work best for their situation based on others’ experiences. Happy Casting – kick the Cable and Satellite habits and go Hulu plus and Torrenting (try Popcorn Time aka Time for Popcorn) so you don’t spend your hard earned money needlessly.

  7. chris brown

    i can drag and drop only one of my files. the others show as a down load in the bottom right corner then open up in a default browser not in chrome… what am i doing wrong?

  8. Kian


    It worked but no subtitle!!!!
    can you help me about that?


    • robert

      Try the Videostream plugin
      you can select a subtitle

  9. Sky North

    Thanks for this, I have wanted to know if I could Cast my downloaded films to the TV for a while. It works, but the films are often very “robotic”, that is, they don’t “flow”. You know what I mean.

  10. JR

    How can I stream a MP3 playlist?

  11. mwh

    This thing landed under our Christmas tree a year ago (2014). I would rather Santa left a bag of coal.

    You play your local video library (ripped DVD’s) via third party Chrome app extension called Videostream. That’s the only extension I’ve found that works, albeit poorly. That’s when I’m streaming (or trying to) from my PC (laptop) to the Chromecast. Now, if my DVD library is on a NAS station or on a shared hard drive, my Android phone will play the movie with the Chromecast app from the PlayStore. But, that option has teeth built into it: You dog-out your WiFil. Your Android is pullign the movie through your Wifi, and then pushing it out to Chromecast via… wait for it… WiFi

    Lastly, all of it gets tangled up in a mess of video wrappers: MP4, MKV, AVI, M4V… It’s exausting and the only type that works well is MP4! That’s when a freeware universal app called Handbrake. It’s a transcoder that’s fairly simple to use, if you have the patience to wait for Handbrake to finish. Here’s a helpful hint:: Handbrake will transcode just about anything, but it will always default to an M4V format. Videostream and Chromcast App doesn’t play that. So, under Handbrake’s “File – Preferences, look for “Use Ipod/Iphone friendly (.m4v) file extension…” and uncheck it. That will solve that and all resulting videos will be playable with Videostream.

  12. Domink

    Thanks a lot for this. It actually works now with flac as well. But the 700+-100 kBit – stream of the flac file seems to be transformed into a 100 kBit – stream of unknown sort, probably re-mp3-ed, which is sort of a pity.

    You can even use the google chrome as file manager and go up and down your music library directory structure.

  13. sgriffith

    thanks. I needed a refresher! like a charm – mp4v & mp4 voila!!!

  14. Bryan Davis

    Google Cast extension has been discontinued!

    • vweotter

      It’s now a part of Chrome.

      You can also cast from VLC: that allows ypu to play all media that VLC supports.

  15. Neil Stevens

    It’s so limited in what it can do and can’t even power up from your TV/monitor USB port so you’re just replacing one cord for another when streaming from a laptop. Shell out a few extra quid for the Microsoft Wireless Adaptor and do it properly.

  16. EL

    Music Caster if you’re looking to cast music

  17. gh

    Chromecast seems to be useless to me: I convert my DVDs and BRs to .mkv in order to use multiple audio tracks (such as my language, original English or whatnot (e.g. Chinese) audio + commentary, I also include srt subtitles for all viewers, works fine with raspberry pi and kodi, wtf? Waste of money.

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